Mar 08, 2012 Neil Benjamin Jr. Uncategorized
Aimed at meeting the growing needs of seniors in Onondaga County, Home Instead Senior Care has opened a franchise on Ridings Road.
Married couple Gair and Tom Adams opened the franchise on Feb. 1 as a way to provide non-medical services to local elderly citizens. Home Instead was founded in 1994 by Paul and Lori Hogan in Omaha, Neb., after the couple began helping out Paul’s grandmother, Eleanor Manhart.
There are 800 franchises in the United States and 115 internationally. Each franchise is for-profit, and the ultimate goal is to provide support for activities designed to improve the quality of life for seniors. For the local franchise, the immediate goal is to provide companionship. In the long term, its goal is to become Syracuse’s trusted resource of said ideals.
“We will transport seniors to their activities, help them with anything they are interested in and provide the companionship they may desire,” Gair said in her office at 6443 Ridings Road, Syracuse. “Our goal is to provide to the client everything they want.”
They way it works is the franchise hires care givers who travel to the seniors’ houses to help with just about everything outside of medical assistance. Gair said studies have shown that between 85 and 90 percent of seniors prefer to remain in their own homes, rather than move to a nursing home or senior living facility.
“Our hope is that we can help them stay in their homes as long as possible,” Gair added.
Aside from helping the elderly, Home Instead is also aiding the local economy. Granted, the national unemployment has dropped in recent weeks, but there is still a huge need for new jobs in the Syracuse area. Since opening up the search for care givers, the business has received 126 applicants, some with master’s and nursing degree’s, Gair said.
So far, Gair said 40 people have been interviewed and six have been hired, with eight more about to be added. She said by the end of the year she hopes to have up to 60 employees for the part-time, 20-to 25-hour a week position. But not just anyone can land a job there. Gair said Home Instead does a rigorous background check that includes a drug and alcohol screening, a full criminal check and a peek into the applicant’s driving record. While having an issue in the past won’t help the applicant, it’s also not the one deciding factor, Gair said. On top of all that, the person must provide at least three personal and three professional references to be considered.
Once hired, the care giver goes through a thorough training that concludes with a quiz that needs to be passed.
“We take the hiring process very seriously,” Gair said. “We want our clients to feel as comfortable as possible with whoever helps with their care.”
She noted that the senior population can be an easy target for those with negative intentions.
“Seniors can be vulnerable,” she said. “Some people like to take advantage. I’ve heard some bad experiences, and we hope our screening process can eliminate that element.”
Home Instead does its best to best match client with care giver. The client has to fill out a bunch of paperwork that includes information on what their activities are, if they have any mobility issues, what their health is like, what routines they keep and if they exercise, among many other factors.
The company even goes as far as, with the client’s permission, checking the client’s house to see how a care giver can best assist. Each client will receive four quality assurance visits.
“We want as much information as possible,” Gair said.
Gair went to SUNY Stony Brook for her undergraduate studies and Cortland for her master’s in education. She spent a lot of her career as a pharmaceutical sales representative. Tom, who was unavailable for interview due to job commitments, attended Penn State for a degree in business psychology and SUNY Oneonta for his master’s degree. They have two children.
“We have been lucky that both sets of our parents are still alive, and we’re into our 50s,” Gair said. “It’s unusual, but we’ve been fortunate.”
So far, they have four potential clients, but that number is growing.
“We’re getting truly qualified applicants,” she concluded. “The better service we provide, the more clients we will get.”
Neil Benjamin Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.